Acquia certification can help you master Drupal web development
Posted on
July 6, 2015
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This past April brought the one-year anniversary of the Acquia Certification Program, which has experienced notable growth over the past 16 months. When Acquia first got things off the ground, there was just one exam in place. Halfway through 2015, there are four exams, along with a new Acquia Certified Grand Master credential.

When the program first launched, it was important to establish meaningful credentials to validate the skills and knowledge of Drupal developers across the globe. Before 2014, there had never been any kind of Drupal certification or credentialing program of any note, and Acquia, as a leader in this open source world, made the investment to create such a program.

As the Drupal web development platform has gained in popularity, there has been a demand by companies, governments and other bodies to find the talent to build, service and manage enterprise web sites and undergo digital transformation.

The Acquia Certification Program has established credentials that have earned respect from the developer community and IT professionals. The Acquia Certification Program left its mark on the annual Certification Magazine Salary Survey this past year, including making the list of most desired credentials to be earned in the coming year at No. 29 with Acquia Certified Developer - Back End Specialist. It was the only first-year program to make that special list!

We have recently seen the Australian government adopt the Drupal platform, and other national and regional governments, including those of Canada and the state of New York are leveraging Drupal as well. Johnson & Johnson requires Acquia certification for any Drupal project, and we expect other major corporations to follow suit.

What are the keys to this success? The exams themselves are based on real world scenarios that Drupal developers face. They are crafted so the test taker has to sort through the information given, which creates and establishes parameters and gives each question context. There is rarely if ever a memorization question. The sort of information that someone would normally look up to help solve a problem or question is included in each scenario.

If someone has been on the job as a Drupal developer, they will be in great position to pass the exams. There is self-study material available for all the exams, as well as a four-day hands-on lab course that supports the core Acquia Certified Developer exam. This course is designed to help someone who has six months' experience gain more skills and knowledge to become a better developer and, at the same time, help them prepare for the exam.

Many agencies, consultants and Drupal shops use the Acquia Certification Program in their hiring processes, as well as in team development and building. It gives a path to skills and knowledge growth for individuals, and at the same time identifies the gaps that need filling, both for a project team and for an individual.

Where can these parties go to find the talent? Whether it is agencies, companies or consultants, users of Drupal want to be assured they are bringing in the people with the proper skills and knowledge. There are thousands of developers who have established expertise through their past work, but for someone to confirm this independently can be time-consuming and daunting. While the exams don't measure for areas other than technical skills and knowledge, it is a good framework to start identifying potential Drupal project team members.

Acquia Certification has also put in place a certification Registry as a starting point to confirm credentials earned, and also a second Grand Master Registry to spotlight individuals the Acquia Certification Program deems to be the best of the best. To earn a place in the Registry, a candidate must pass one of four exams available today.

To achieve the Acquia Certified Grand Master 2015 certification credential, you need to pass the following three Acquia Certified Developer exams over the 2014-15 calendar time period.

This means passing the following:
Acquia Certified Developer
Acquia Certified Developer - Back End Specialist
Acquia Certified Developer - Front End Specialist
All three exams are available to take at testing centers around the globe, or as an online proctored exam.

Acquia certification can help you dive into Drupal.

There is also the new Acquia Certified Drupal Site Builder exam, which for many is the first rung on the technical skill set ladder in Drupal. Though there are scores of developers who have transitioned to Drupal focusing on the back end (coding) aspect, research has indicated that the best developers have rounded skills sets. That is what led to creation of the first exam, the Acquia Certified Developer exam.

From there, the Specialization exams for the Front End and Back End further focus on and validate these advanced areas of skills and knowledge.

The exams are available through online proctored testing as well as onsite at testing centers and at DrupalCon conferences. The online proctored tests have proven to be reliable, and are generally the preferred method chosen by test takers, saving both time and travel costs. With that kind of access, it's no wonder there are now Acquia Certified Developers in more than 45 countries, including a recent pioneer who became the first individual to certify in Cuba.

With participation exceeding expectations in the first year, Acquia Certification will continue to look forward to providing a program of value for the open sourced Drupal community and the industry as a whole for many years to come!

Exam Info:

Acquia Certified Developer (Core)

The Acquia Certified Developer certification exam is a core exam that cuts across Web Development, Site Building, Front end (theming) and Bank end (coding) topic areas.

This exam validates skills and knowledge and an ability to work across these key areas which in turn helps make them successful developers and great team members.

Acquia Certified Developer - Back End Specialist

The Acquia Certified Developer - Back End Specialist exam validates skills and knowledge to demonstrate an even deeper grasp of this Back End (coding) specialization. Professionals working with Drupal 7 have been testing out successfully as well.

This exam validates skills and knowledge and an ability to work across key areas such as Fundamental Web Concepts, Drupal Core API, Database Abstraction Layer, Debug code and troubleshooting, Theme Integration, Performance, Security and Community.

Acquia Certified Developer - Front End Specialist

The Acquia Certified Developer - Front end Specialist exam validates skills and knowledge to demonstrate an even deeper grasp of this Front end (theming) specialization. Professionals working with Drupal 7 have been testing out successfully.

This exam validates skills and knowledge and an ability to work across key areas such as Fundamental Web Concepts, Theming Concepts, Sub-theming Concepts, Templates, Template Functions, Layout Configuration, Performance and Security.

Acquia Certified Drupal Site Builder

The Acquia Certified Drupal Site Builder is a credential intended for professionals who build Drupal sites using core and contributed modules.

This exam focuses on knowledge of Drupal 7 and topic areas including Drupal features, Content and User Management, Content Modeling, Site Display, Community and Contributed Projects, Module and Theme Management, Security and Performance.

About the Author

Peter Manijak is a training and certification consultant and served as Certification Chair for CEdMA (Computer Education Management Association) for more than six years. He now sits on the CEdMA Europe Board of Directors. An innovator and pioneer of IT certification, Peter specializes in building and managing world-class certification programs and training organizations. Certification regimes he has led include those affiliated with EMC, Storage Networking Industry Association (SNIA), Hitachi Data Systems, Acquia, Magento and Ceridian. Peter has been awarded CEdMA Certification Chair - Emeritus status and is a regular contributor to Certification Magazine.



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